Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Stress


High levels of acute and chronic stress are known to impair problem-solving and creativity on a broad range of tasks. Despite this evidence, we know little about protective factors for mitigating the deleterious effects of stress on problem-solving. Building on previous research showing that self-affirmation can buffer stress, we tested whether an experimental manipulation of self-affirmation improves problem-solving performance in chronically stressed participants. Eighty undergraduates indicated their perceived chronic stress over the previous month and were randomly assigned to either a self-affirmation or control condition. They then completed 30 difficult remote associate problem-solving items under time pressure in front of an evaluator. Results showed that self-affirmation improved problem-solving performance in underperforming chronically stressed individuals. This research suggests a novel means for boosting problem-solving under stress and may have important implications for understanding how self-affirmation boosts academic achievement in school settings.

Concepts: Improve, Understanding, Stress


Transparent and flexible electrodes are widely used on a variety of substrates such as plastics and glass. Yet, to date, transparent electrodes on a textile substrate have not been explored. The exceptional electrical, mechanical and optical properties of monolayer graphene make it highly attractive as a transparent electrode for applications in wearable electronics. Here, we report the transfer of monolayer graphene, grown by chemical vapor deposition on copper foil, to fibers commonly used by the textile industry. The graphene-coated fibers have a sheet resistance as low as ~1 kΩ per square, an equivalent value to the one obtained by the same transfer process onto a Si substrate, with a reduction of only 2.3 per cent in optical transparency while keeping high stability under mechanical stress. With this approach, we successfully achieved the first example of a textile electrode, flexible and truly embedded in a yarn.

Concepts: Electricity, Optical fiber, Cotton, Chemical vapor deposition, Stress, Textile, Yarn, Transparency and translucency


Burnout is the result of prolonged workplace exposure to chronic stress factors and may present itself in one of the following subtypes: “frenetic”, “under-challenged” and “worn-out”. The aims of the present study were to identify the causes of workplace discomfort that affect employees in large organizations and to determine the predictive power of these causes with regard to the burnout subtypes.

Concepts: Future, Stress, Debut albums


Peritraumatic dissociation is one of the most critical acute responses to a traumatic experience, partly because it predicts subsequent posttraumatic stress disorder. Despite this, there is little understanding about the factors that influence peritraumatic dissociation. This study investigated the extent to which peritraumatic dissociation is predicted by the amount of perceived warning that participants had of the impact of the trauma.

Concepts: Psychological trauma, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Stress, Traumatology


Objectives. The global burden of burnout cost is in excess of $300 billion annually. Locally, just under half of working Australians experience high levels of occupational burnout. Consequently, burnout interventions are paramount to organisational productivity. Exercise has the potential to provide a multilevel and cost effective burnout intervention. The current study aims to extend the literature by comparing cardiovascular with resistance exercise to assess their relative effectiveness against well-being, perceived stress, and burnout. Design. Participants were 49 (36 females and 13 males) previously inactive volunteers ranging in age from 19 to 68 that completed a four week exercise program of either cardiovascular, resistance, or no exercise (control). Randomised control trial design was employed. Method. Participants were measured against the Subjective Exercise Experience Scale, the Perceived Stress Scale, and the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Results. After four weeks of exercise participants had greater positive well-being and personal accomplishment, and concomitantly less psychological distress, perceived stress, and emotional exhaustion. Cardiovascular exercise was found to increase well-being and decrease psychological distress, perceived stress, and emotional exhaustion. Resistance training was noticeably effective in increasing well-being and personal accomplishment and to reduce perceived stress. The present findings revealed large effect sizes suggesting that exercise may be an effective treatment for burnout. However, given a small sample size further research needs to be conducted. Conclusion. Exercise has potential to be an effective burnout intervention. Different types of exercise may assist employees in different ways. Organisations wishing to proactively reduce burnout can do so by encouraging their employees to access regular exercise programs.

Concepts: Psychology, Sample size, Randomized controlled trial, Exercise, Strength training, Weight training, Stress, Burnout


This supplement registry study evaluated the effect of supplementation with Robuvit® on the burnout syndrome (BOS) of patients with significant fatigue and high oxidative stress. Robuvit® (French oak wood extract) is a standardized supplement, effective in treating chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and convalescence.

Concepts: Oxidative stress, Complex post-traumatic stress disorder, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Stress, Chronic fatigue syndrome, Oak


Two calling melodies of Polish were investigated, the routine call, used to call someone for an everyday reason, and the urgent call, which conveys disapproval of the addressee’s actions. A Discourse Completion Task was used to elicit the two melodies from Polish speakers using twelve names from one to four syllables long; there were three names per syllable count, and speakers produced three tokens of each name with each melody. The results, based on eleven speakers, show that the routine calling melody consists of a low F0 stretch followed by a rise-fall-rise; the urgent calling melody, on the other hand, is a simple rise-fall. Systematic differences were found in the scaling and alignment of tonal targets: the routine call showed late alignment of the accentual pitch peak, and in most instances lower scaling of targets. The accented vowel was also affected, being overall louder in the urgent call. Based on the data and comparisons with other Polish melodies, we analyze the routine call as LH* !H-H% and the urgent call as H* L-L%. We discuss the results and our analysis in light of recent findings on calling melodies in other languages, and explore their repercussions for intonational phonology and the modeling of intonation.

Concepts: Phonology, Phonotactics, Syllable, Language, International Phonetic Alphabet, Stress, Vowel, Mora


The present study investigated the effect of acute stress on attentional bias to threat using behavioral and ERP methods. Sixty-two male participants were randomly assigned to a stress condition (Trier Social Stress Test) or a control condition. To examine the impact of stress-induced cortisol on attentional bias to threat, participants in the stress group were split into Low- and High cortisol responders. All participants were then administered a modified dot probe task in which the cues were neutral and angry faces. Behavioral results showed a pattern of attentional bias toward threat in the Control group but not in the stress group. For the ERPs, the P100 peaked earlier for the angry-cued targets than the neutral-cued targets in the Control group, which suggests a rapid, adaptive response toward threat. However, this effect was not observed in the stress group, suggesting a suppressed attentional bias under stress. In addition, the stress group (including both Low and High cortisol responders) showed reduced P300 amplitude to target onset than the Control group. These results suggest that acute stress disrupts attentional bias to threat including a reduction in early bias to threat in addition to a subsequent change of attention allocation.

Concepts: Anxiety, Scientific method, Psychology, Attention, Metabolic syndrome, Cognitive bias, Stress


Contact with green space in the environment has been associated with mental health benefits, but the mechanism underpinning this association is not clear. This study extends an earlier exploratory study showing that more green space in deprived urban neighbourhoods in Scotland is linked to lower levels of perceived stress and improved physiological stress as measured by diurnal patterns of cortisol secretion. Salivary cortisol concentrations were measured at 3, 6 and 9 h post awakening over two consecutive weekdays, together with measures of perceived stress. Participants (n = 106) were men and women not in work aged between 35-55 years, resident in socially disadvantaged districts from the same Scottish, UK, urban context as the earlier study. Results from linear regression analyses showed a significant and negative relationship between higher green space levels and stress levels, indicating living in areas with a higher percentage of green space is associated with lower stress, confirming the earlier study findings. This study further extends the findings by showing significant gender differences in stress patterns by levels of green space, with women in lower green space areas showing higher levels of stress. A significant interaction effect between gender and percentage green space on mean cortisol concentrations showed a positive effect of higher green space in relation to cortisol measures in women, but not in men. Higher levels of neighbourhood green space were associated with healthier mean cortisol levels in women whilst also attenuating higher cortisol levels in men. We conclude that higher levels of green space in residential neighbourhoods, for this deprived urban population of middle-aged men and women not in work, are linked with lower perceived stress and a steeper (healthier) diurnal cortisol decline. However, overall patterns and levels of cortisol secretion in men and women were differentially related to neighbourhood green space and warrant further investigation.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Linear regression, Gender, Cortisol, Metabolic syndrome, Gender role, Stress, Residential community


Age-appropriate criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in young children have been established. The present study investigated the long-term course of such PTSD and its predictors in young children.

Concepts: Complex post-traumatic stress disorder, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Stress